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JAMA Revisited
August 3, 2021

Current Comment

JAMA. 2021;326(5):446. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.18062

Originally Published August 3, 1946 | JAMA. 1946;131(14):1130.

Although photographic film was scarce during the war, many high quality 16 mm. color motion pictures were made on various aspects of medicine and surgery. These films illustrate improved understanding of the problems involved in the production of scientific motion pictures. There is evidence of advanced planning, indicating that a script, or at least a working outline, was prepared and discussed before the actual “shooting” had begun. Such a procedure resulted in better continuity and reduced the expense of taking a great deal of unnecessary footage. In this respect the film shortage may have been a blessing in disguise. Poorly made, illegible titles are slowly disappearing; sound films are becoming more widely used; animated drawings are often inserted to point up important phases and to portray sequences which cannot be seen with the naked eye. The use of animated drawings in scientific films is extremely fertile in its possibilities. Pharmaceutical houses and other manufacturers of medical supplies are taking a more active interest in the production of scientific motion pictures. In such instances the talents of the best available personnel are usually employed. Generally the result is a well organized, clearly presented teaching film, free from advertising. Now that photographic equipment and materials are becoming more readily accessible and more physicians are returning to private practice and research, the making of scientific films will be accelerated. Careful planning based on experience contributes immeasurably to a successful motion picture.